"On May 27, Americans across the country honored the brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coast guardsmen who have given the ultimate sacrifice to secure our liberty and defend our freedom.” This sentiment and others very similar are offered almost daily. Thank a Vet is a common phrase.

I am a vet, a Vietnam Marine, 72-years-old, I love the Marine Corp and my country. What I write today will offend some, anger many and make some of your heads explode.

First let me say everybody loves their country — Germans, Mexicans, Russians, I don’t care where you are from. This is a normal human emotion; love of country.

The young men and women who answer the call are to be commended. It has been my experience however, that the majority of military folks did not join to protect your freedom. They joined for adventure, a challenge, to get out of town, or to get a job and training, there are a multitude of reasons, almost as many reasons as there are recruits. Now I realize there are times like immediately following 9-11 that a spate of patriotism spurred many into the service of their country.

Many of the old codgers (like me) get teary eyed over the military, but what they are really saddened by is the loss of their youth. Their memories are bad, they don’t remember the mind-numbing boredom, chicken crap they constantly complained about, the asinine orders and regulations, and their goal in life, to get the hell out.

Yes, it was Memorial Day and it was a time for reflection and respect for the dead and wounded, but please, we are hardly heroes, and no one is fighting to protect your country and your freedom today. Misguided youth are fighting for corporate interests and corporate profit. Our endless wars are making us less safe and secure, as we bleed our treasury, and create fear and hatred for Americans around the world. And our parroting the sentiment that brave youth are fighting to keep us free is giving legitimacy to this lie.

CHRIS THOMPSON

South Bend

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